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Time to end disability discrimination in the workplace

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Discrimination comes in all forms. People living with disabilities also face discrimination.

Canadians living with disabilities make up 22 per cent of the general population, or about six million people. OPSEU supports inclusive rights and accessible services for all Canadians. COVID-19 has led to many significant challenges that government has struggled to address. People living with disabilities haven’t been heard during the pandemic, nor have their concerns been addressed. Those concerns include chronic underfunding of services and living in poverty.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and it is important in two ways: first, it recognizes people with disabilities as a part of a team in the workplace; second, it educates the public, and important decision-makers, about issues regarding employment for people with disabilities. OPSEU celebrates this month because access to stable and gainful employment is directly related to one’s sense of dignity, respect, and independence.

There are ways for Canadians to be involved in disability advocacy. You can encourage your workplace to sponsor a day where co-workers and managers are trained to work with persons with a disability, helping them step into the shoes of a person with a mobility issue or other barriers. The overall benefit of a training day is that it builds growth and relationships within the workplace.

OPSEU offers an annual scholarship of $1,500 in the memory of Carol McGregor, a long-time union activist on disability rights issues, who died in 2006. It is open to dependents of OPSEU members in good standing who have a visible or non-visible disability and are pursuing post-secondary education. Extra consideration will be given to students who have participated in a collective action or community organization on disability or human rights issues.

Please join OPSEU in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month.